Published on September 18th, 2014 | by Laura Evans Booth0
Oh, I Do Like To Be Beside The Seaside!
July 2014 saw the 200 year anniversary since the opening of Britain’s first seaside Pier, Ryde Pier on the Isle of Wight. Ryde Pier was the original pleasure pier and paved the way for dozens of other seaside piers along British coastlines. During the 1950’s, 60s and 70s, the popularity of the seaside pier boomed as floods of tourists and holidaymakers would flock to the coast for the obligatory fish & chips in newspaper and sticks of colourful seaside rock.
As international travel became cheaper and more readily available, the decline in traditional seaside tourism has caused many of Britain’s precious piers to be lost to the waves, forever.
In recognition of the heyday of the seaside pier and its subsequent deterioration, this Stamp Card Set celebrates five of the most iconic surviving piers from around the coasts of Britain.
Beautifully photographed by Lee Mawdsley’s impactful style, the stamp card set depicts Llanduno, Dunoon, Brighton and Worthing Piers, with a background image of the magnificent Southend Pier, the world’s longest seaside, pleasure pier.
This Seaside Pier stamp card is part of a Seaside Architecture theme available at the Post Office Shop, which also features a stunning Presentation Pack, depicting seaside landmarks from around Britain’s coastline.
Designed by Brunless and McKerror and taking two years to construct, the original Llandudno pier was completed in 1858 to a length of 242ft. Unfortunately the pier was severely damaged during the Royal Charter Storm of 25th October 1859. Considered to be the worst storm to hit the Irish Sea, the death toll stands at an estimated 800 and 223 ships were lost.Despite the pier undergoing renovations, it was torn down 16 years later.
The pier that stands today was built by Walter McFarlane in 1877, using iron castings and finished with a traditional wooden decking. After subsequent remodelling and expansion the pier now stretches 2295ft into the Irish Sea and is referred to as “the queen of the Welsh piers.”
Famous for its musical concerts, household names such as Cliff Richard and George Fornby had performed at The Pier Pavilion before it was ravaged by flames in 1994. Although the pier itself remained undamaged, the pavilion was destroyed and never rebuilt, leaving the wrought iron supports behind as a visual reminder of its previous glory.
Llandudno is an exceptional example of Victorian and Edwardian elegance, owned by Six Pier Ltd a dedicated maintenance team work on the pier all year round to preserve and improve its decor and appearance.
Despite its state of dereliction, Dunoon Pier is the best surviving example of a timber ferry/steamer pier in Scotland. Originally built in 1835 to Campbell Douglas’ specifications, the current, larger structure was erected in 1895. The striking pier entrance features red-tiled roofs and intricate timbers painted in cream, yellow and chocolate, whilst the 1937 promenade balcony retains all of its original period features.
Until the late 1960’s, fleets of paddle steamers brought holiday makers from around the Scottish isles to the purpose build pier. Now extremely rare, these piers were fundamental in the social development of Western Scotland’s coastal and island communities during the 19th and 20th centuries.
Until 2011, the pier was used daily by Caledonian MacBrayne who ran a regular car-ferry service by the last remaining steam paddle ferry, the PS Waverley.
Dunoon pier is now in a drastic state of disrepair; Argyll and Bute Council are currently investigating the structural components of the pier before deciding its fate. Although demolition of the pier in favour of a new marina is a probable outcome, a short-term maintenance plan is currently being implemented.
Originally named, The Brighton Marine Palace and Pier, Brighton Pier is now the only non-derelict pier remaining in the town and has attained Grade II listing since 1971 as a means of preservation.
Designed by Richard St George Moore, work began on Brighton Pier in November 1881. Due to the enormity of the build, the pier wasn’t completed until 1899, when it was opened with a grand ceremony.
The preservation and upkeep of the pier is an ongoing, arduous operation, with annual painting taking three months to complete. Divers are employed to inspect and maintain the steel substructure, which supports the superstructure of the pier itself. The maintenance costs of the pier over the past decade amount to many millions of pounds.
The iconic pier has also featured in films such as Carry on at Your Convenience, Sweeney Todd and Quadrophenia. Measuring an impressive 1,722 foot long and recognised as the “finest pier ever built,” Brighton Pier now offers a tasteful and traditional setting for bars, restaurants, fair rides and other time-honoured seaside attractions.
Designed by Sir Robert Rawlinson, Worthing Pier is a Grade II listed pier, stretching 105ft into the English Channel. Originally built to be a simple promenade deck in 1861, the pier was an instant success and was expanded in 1882 to accommodate a 650-seat pavilion, which is still used for theatrical productions.
In 1940 a 120ft hole was purposely blown into the pier to prevent it being used as a possible landing stage in the event of a German attack. As post-war resources were in short supply, it wasn’t until 1949 that the pier was finally repaired and reopened.
2014 has seen the installation of a new, alfresco art display: Images from 100 local artists and 200 Children have been printed on vinyl and attached to the glass partition that runs alongside Worthing Pier’s central walkway.
As well as an entertainment centre and the pavilion theatre, the fully renovated art deco pier also offers the chance to relax in deck chairs, sample traditionally-made ice cream and watch the sea go by, taking in the views of the iconic chalk cliffs to the east.
Extending 1.34 miles (2.16km) into the Thames Estuary, Southend Pier is not only a major landmark in Southend-on-Sea, but it boasts the title of the longest pier in the world. The iron pier that stands today was designed by James Brunlees. Work on Southend Pier began in 1887, opening to the public later that summer, but it was not fully completed until 1889. Southend pier became an immediate success and has subsequently been subject to various extensions and redevelopments to accommodate increasing visitor numbers. Of particular note, 1890 saw the first electric Locomotive installed to run the length of the pier.
Closed to the public in 1929, the pier became an integral part of British Naval defence during WWII, serving as both a mustering point for convoys and naval control point for the Thames Estuary.
In recent years Southend Pier has undergone intensive restoration, with the addition of a sundeck and a Royal Pavilion, designed by architect White Arkitekter. Southend Pier also plays host to one of the busiest and largest RNLI lifeboat stations in the country, averaging over 100 “shouts” a year.
With the striking steel structure that’s lasted well over a century, Southend Pier is an iconic symbol of the traditional pleasures of the British seaside.